Online Marketing Lessons from that Famous Ellen DeGeneres Oscars Selfie


More than 3 million retweets and counting.

Staged or not, marketers can definitely learn from that historical Oscar moment when Ellen DeGeneres, host of the recently concluded Oscars ceremony, took a group Selfie that included Hollywood elites the likes of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey and more.

Despite Samsung’s persistent denial that it was a stunt, people couldn’t help but be amazed by the ingenuity. Not only that it has broken the Twitter record previously held by Obama during his last electoral win, and not only that it has made the Oscars event more enjoyable, but it also flamboyantly showcased a big shiny Samsung phone in front of everyone’s eyes – that’s 43 million people watching at home, and that’s just in the US.

What made the publicity work like a charm?

It was “spontaneously” real

Ellen supposedly “came up” with an idea to tweet a selfie out of nowhere. She made it look as if it was unplanned, conniving with her Hollywood pals and make people think that they’re just like regular people who like to goof around even during a  formal event. In a middle of a show, they posed for a group picture and uploaded it real time, while millions are watching. It was a simple concept yet the impact was unprecedented.

Online businesses should learn how to take advantage and “be in the moment” so people can easily help publicize a brand or company. The best way to do that is to not let people think they are being marketed on; rather, create realistic scenarios and let their emotions do the buzzing.

It called for a challenge to achieve something

The selfie was explicitly intended to break the previous record for retweets, which was  a little over 780,000. When Ellen announced to the world that she was aiming for a record-breaker, the entire online community responded to the call. And even if she didn’t really say it was for a record, people certainly would still retweet that photo because it was epic and silly at the same time. Then again, it’s much more exciting when you’re doing it to break records and be part of history.

We often see these types of “challenges” online on Facebook business pages and blogs. This helps generate buzz for your brand and breed fun within your company.

It was star-studded

Had Ellen taken her selfie with a bunch of unknowns, the photo wouldn’t have been a trending topic, let alone retweeted that many times. It was the perfect opportunity to exploit Hollywood fame to achieve a goal – and it was a victorious attempt.

Hollywood celebrities rarely endorse B2B companies, but there are industry influencers and thought leaders that create the same impact within a niche. Online business need to attract the attention of these prominent personalities so they can help put a product or service on the map.